From the Field - A Message from our Conference Committee

Posted

Greg Jutkiewicz (Left), Joanna Lenahan (Right)

-Joanna Lenahan (Conference Co-Chair – Vendor Hall)

 Tell us about yourself and your camp background.

Girl Scout Camp is my heart!  I have been a Girl Scout since the age of 5 and immediately out of high school, I started working for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts’ summer camps.  This year will be my 22nd summer working at a Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts’ summer camp.  After college, I started working full-time for the Girl Scouts and now I am the Director of Camp and Outdoor Experience, supervising six day camps, four resident camps and a family camp.

We’ve all heard it from our friends, families, and the strangers we meet on the street: “What do you do 

during the rest of the year?”   “I work at a camp” is so much more than a few weeks during the summer. We know all the hard work that goes into planning for camp. It takes us nine months of the year to make just three months the best experience possible for our campers, parents, and staff. This takes time, planning, and dedication.

What do you look forward to each year at the New England Camp Conference?

The ACA New England Camp Conference is that one time of year where we all get together to think about last summer and plan for this summer with people who get it!  I look forward to seeing everyone and their excitement for Summer Camp.  This will be my 8th year as the Conference Co-Chair - Expo Hall.  What I love most about the Expo Hall is the excitement that you feel when you walk through the doors.  Everyone is there to have fun and offer you some of the best deals around. 

What about the 2020 Conference has you excited for this year?

This year, our EXPO hall is SOLD OUT. We have 52 returning vendors and we are welcoming 35 new vendors!  Make sure you come to visit and talk to everyone.  Sometimes just making the connection with someone is beneficial when you are looking to buy something later in the season.  Don’t forget about the daily raffles and the scavenger hunt in the hall.   Complete the scavenger hunt and get entered to win a Kindle Fire! 

I can’t wait to see everyone on Thursday after the keynote when the Expo Hall officially opens!


 

  -Greg Jutkiewicz (Conference Co-Chair – Program)

Tell us about yourself and your camp background.

Growing up, I didn't have to attend camp - my mother was a first-grade teacher and with her summers off, she made being at home like our own neighborhood camp.  I did attend a day camp at a local farm when I was 6 and 7.  My age group was in charge of taking care of the goats. At 8 or 9, I went to two weeks of "sleepover camp" and I was hooked. 

Eventually, I convinced my parents to let me attend 4 weeks of camp each summer, which I did up until the year the camp closed. Opening the letter that December day that said camp was no longer going to operate was absolutely crushing.  I was telling this story to Bob Ditter recently and not only did he know the camp, he used to train their staff! In addition to crediting my counselors for helping shape the course of my life, I should also thank Bob!  Thank you, Bob for all you did back then and all you continue to do to help camps, camp staff, and of course children. 

Feeling like I lost my second home, I searched for another camp to try. Ultimately, I decided not to attend camp again and instead built a ropes course in my parents’ backyard - please DO NOT try to do this! But it was the early 90's; it was a different time! Fast forward a few years, my sister was a counselor at a local day camp, and they were looking to bring on additional staff. That is how Emily Parker gave me my first job at camp, and there has not been one summer since, that I have not spent working at a camp!

I am now the Director of Summer Programs at Concord Academy in Concord, MA, and this will be my 15th summer at CA Summer Camp.

What do you look forward to each year at the New England Camp Conference?

I have served on the Conference Committee (or its predecessors - Program and Steering Committees) since 2009, if my memory serves me right! The conference literally gets me "in camp mode"; I break out the khaki shorts for the season and never turn back. I am currently the co-chair of the Conference Planning Committee, along with the incredibly talented Joanna Lenahan.  At the conference, you will usually find me running around working on technology and logistics. You know when you meet someone and you can tell right away that they are a "camp person"? There is an immediate connection and you can't help but smile and feel happy. Imagine an entire hotel full of those people - that is how I feel every time I attend the New England Camp Conference.

What about the 2020 Conference has you excited for this year?

I am very excited to bring some elements of live music to the conference this year!  Music has the power to inspire and connect people in a unique and special way. I mean, who (reading this) doesn't think the world would be a better place with more summer camp people, more music, and maybe even more cowbell!